Lethal Pellet: Eye injury cases swell again, force postponement of scheduled surgeries

With the number of eye injury cases rising during the past three days, the surgeons at the SMHS hospital here were forced to postpone the scheduled retina surgeries to attend to the fresh pellet victims.
Lethal Pellet: Eye injury cases swell again, force postponement of scheduled surgeries
Photo: Mubashir Khan/GK

With the number of eye injury cases rising during the past three days, the surgeons at the SMHS hospital here were forced to postpone the scheduled retina surgeries to attend to the fresh pellet victims.

Sources said during the past two days the hospital could conduct only 10 to 12 vitrectomies as the surgeons at the Ophthalmology Department remain busy "repairing" the wound of the fresh victims which were rushed from across Kashmir.

"Even the eye-specialist from outside, who were scheduled to conduct vitrectomies, had to attending to fresh pellet victims, the sources said. 

On Thursday while the hospital admitted 15 fresh pellet victims, the number of the injured persons received on Friday was 29, the day when more than 120 persons had got injured across Kashmir.

Today, the hospital again admitted five more persons with pellet injuries to eyes, taking the total number of eye victims including bilateral cases to 49 for the three days.

"The situation is worsening again. Look how many new cases have we got during the past two days," said a senior doctor.

The rise in the number of cases is visible in Ophthalmology Department.

While both the wards of the Department, on the ground floor, are again full with the patients, many fresh injured persons have been adjusted in the Medicine wards on the first floor of the hospital.

Today, in the afternoon, as yet another fresh pellet victim from Rafiabad, Baramalulla, 9th class student, Firdous Ahmad, was rushed to the hospital, the authorities on duty struggled to find a bed for him in the Ward N0 8 till a young boy from Magam, recuperating with eye injury, made space for him on his bed (No 2).

"I can't see anything with my left eye," said Firdous. "I too have pellets in my left eye," the Magam boy told him.

After few minutes, the two boys started narrating how the forces "resorted to indiscriminate" use of force in which they received the pellet injuries.

"Looking at the pattern of these cases, there is no doubt that the eyes are being targeted with the pellets," said a doctor who wished not to be named. "A majority of the injured persons which we are receiving here have pellets in their eyes. This makes things clear," said the doctor.

In the past 22 days after protests broke out in Kashmir following the July 8 killing of militant commander Burhan Muzaffar Wani, the hospital has received more than 215 persons with injuries to their eyes due to the pellets fired by the forces.

The hospital conducted 60 vitrectomies till Thursday including 46 surgeries that were performed by internationally acclaimed retina surgeon Dr S Natrajan and his team.

"A total of 72 retinal surgeries have been conducted at the hospital," the sources said.

In view of the fresh emergency, the hospital has now decided to keep Ophthalmology Operation Theater functional on Sunday as well.

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